You would think, after the impact of recent forest fires on both Kelowna and West Kelowna, those of us who live here would be more highly attuned to the threat of fire than others elsewhere.
Despite wetter than normal conditions in the winter, there are few of us who don’t think summer will be anything but the usual hot, dry weather this area is famous for. At least that’s what we hope, right?
But with that warm weather comes the risk of fire and, as we have seen before, the destruction it can cause is massive.
Throw in a little wind and by the time August rolls around, we have the ingredients for a perfect day at the beach—or the nightmare scenario of roaring wildfires that have shown in the past they have no respect for anything standing in their way.
That’s why it’s so incredulous to see idiot smokers behind the wheel of cars and trucks on our local roads continuing to use the great outdoors as their personal ashtray.
These morons have no compunction about flicking burning cigarette butts out the windows of their vehicles as they drive on their merry way, speeding away from any problem they leave behind because of their stupidity.
It’s as if they don’t give a second thought to the potential damage they are doing.
Take a drive around this city and it won’t be long until you see the type of people I mean. Young, old, male or female—they come in all shapes and sizes but have one thing in common, as my mother likes to say, they don’t have the sense they were born with. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
In recent days, I have seen plenty of culprits guilty of such idiotic and dangerous behaviour.
Earlier this week, I was stopped at the light at Enterprise and Spall and a young woman driving ahead of me did it. On the weekend, it was an older man in a truck on Benvoulin. Last week an elderly lady on Harvey. It seems nature’s way of skipping smart genes in some people does not play favourites.
Health issues aside—if a person wants to smoke and they are not polluting someone else’s air, I say let them—when it comes to the potential to start roadside fires that will affect us all, it’s a different story.
After all, if a driver discards a lit cigarette butt out the window on a busy downtown street, are they any more likely not to do so on a rural road? And, as for the argument that some people stub out their cigarettes before tossing them out the window, is that form of litter any better?
With all the recent talk of potential flooding, the threat of fire may not be top of mind. But the heat should be placed on these inconsiderate smokers.
Alistair Waters is the Capital News’ assistant editor.